If this is your first search for an apartment for rent, you may not know the ins and outs of how the landlord/tenant relationship works. It might seem as easy as finding your apartment, signing a lease, and paying your monthly rent, but what you don’t know could hurt you in the long run. Check out this list of 8 things that you probably don’t know about renting…and that your landlord is perfectly fine keeping you in the dark about.
1. How Private is Private?
When searching for the perfect apartment for rent, privacy is something that you should probably consider. It might seem as if your space will remain undisturbed by others throughout the term of your lease but your landlord has rights you might not be aware of. Your landlord has an obligation to make sure that your apartment is safe, clean, and in a state of repair. This may mean, at times, hiring outside contractors for routine maintenance or repairs, or entering into your apartment themselves. Some may give between 24 and 48 hours notice before entering the rental apartment.
2. You Could Be Paying Too Much
After finding the right apartment for rent, you might be tempted to sign on the dotted line without much thought. Stop right there! Your landlord has likely set the price for your unit and they are under no obligation to disclose whether or not that price is fair. Do your homework by researching comparable properties in the area that have similar amenities and square footage. If you notice that your landlord is way above comparable rents, it might be time to jump to the next paragraph.
3. Your Lease May Be Negotiable
For many of us, particularly new renters, we see an apartment for rent that we like and we sign the lease, no questions asked. You are not, however, necessarily obligated to accept the lease terms as they are spelled out in the original contract. This is particularly true if you are renting from an individual owner rather than a management company. If there are terms within your lease that are raising questions, sit down and discuss them with your landlord.
4. You Can’t Be Excluded Because of Your Family
Unfortunately in the world of rental apartments, there will always be that landlord who feels that they need to implement a no kid’s policy. Unknown to many, a landlord does not have the power of making such a decision. Landlords should not turn down tenants during the rental application process simply because they have children. This is according to the federal Fair Housing Act.
5. You Have the Right to Know Who You’re Renting From
As you move through the process of applying for an apartment for rent, you will probably notice that your landlord is asking you for a LOT of information. Most landlords ask tenants to submit a credit check and a criminal background check. It might seem as if like the scales are tipped in the landlords favor, but there are some tools you can implement to learn a bit about them too. Ask current tenants for feedback, google your landlords name, check online apartment ratings, or search for any notices of default.
6. Not All Space is Rentable
If you’re searching for your next apartment for rent and you are shown a property that feels a little iffy, you may be onto something. Some “apartments” are actually not legitimate rental properties at all. Landlords advertise them as such to make extra income. Contact your city’s building safety department and pull records on the property to determine how many apartments should be available. If the complex shows 20 units and you are being shown a number 21, that’s a good indication that you are being misled.
7. You Have a Right to Livable Conditions
Signing a lease on an apartment acknowledging that you accept it “as-is” does not mean that you are destined to live in squalor. Of course, the conditions that determine “livable” space cannot be the same for all states, but it definitely pays to know when your apartment is being neglected.
8. There’s Power in Numbers
If you feel that a complaint has gone unresolved, reach out to other renters within your building who might be experiencing the same problem. There are also several tenant advocacy groups throughout the state who resolve landlord-tenant related issues. Sometimes just having others to back you up will be enough to get the ball rolling.
Looking for an Apartment for Rent in the Hattiesburg Area?
If you’re starting the search for your next apartment rental in the Hattiesburg area, work with the best. At Hattiesburg Apartments, we offer the largest variety of apartment rentals in the area. Search through our properties today!